Greg's Blog

4 Ways We Can Break the 3rd Commandment

by Greg Laurie on Oct 14, 2022

Among the Ten Commandments, one of the most misunderstood is the third one: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 NKJV).

Power in His Name

This is also one of the most easily broken commandments because it’s so misunderstood. Of course, the obvious way people break this commandment is through profanity, when they use God’s name to punctuate their sentences.

Ironically, some people who claim to be atheists even use the name of Jesus Christ in this way. I find it curious that someone who doesn’t believe in God would use the name of Jesus Christ to emphasize a point.

More than any other profanity, this one offends me the most. I know it offends God, too. When I hear someone use the Lord’s name in that way, I react. I say something like, “Careful, He might answer you sometime” or “You know Him too? He’s my best friend.”

When a person uses the name of Jesus Christ, even if they don’t believe in Him, they’re indirectly acknowledging there is power in His name. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, even atheists have moments of doubt. There is something special about the name of Jesus.

There is power in His name because it’s the name above all names. The apostle Paul said this about Jesus: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9 NKJV).

Also, there is salvation in His name, because the Bible says, “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'” (Romans 10:13 NKJV).

Yet some people go out of their way to mock God and take His name in vain. They go out of their way to insult Christians. They think it’s all a big joke.

The Old Testament tells the story of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, who held a feast in which he decided to use the gold cups taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. Then we read that “while they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone” (Daniel 5:4 NLT).

While King Belshazzar was going out of his way to mock God, a hand suddenly appeared and wrote some words on the wall: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin (see Daniel 5:25 NKJV). Loosely paraphrased, they meant that Belshazzar’s number was up. The party was over.

That night, Belshazzar was killed, and someone else took over his kingdom.

The Bible warns us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 NKJV).

While some go out of their way to mock God like Belshazzar did, others may take the Lord’s name in vain and not even realize it.

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